Posted on | August 19, 2013
Written by | Cara McIlwaine
Now in its second decade, Tales of the Cocktail is showing that with maturity comes a bigger and better event. New Orleans in July is the place for suppliers, bartenders, new brands and enthusiasts to meet, mingle, show off wares and recalibrate the barometer of what’s new and next in spirits and cocktails.
Tales of the Cocktail took place July 17th-21st. There were some 200 events in all, including Spirited Dinners, many educational seminars, mixology competitions, tasting rooms, the Spirited Awards—and there was at least one marriage proposal!
Daylight hours offered educational opportunities for the trade as well as serious connoisseurs. Subjects ranged from how to profitably run a bar business to specific spirits-trends trajectories and even proper glassware.
Attendees of the three Vermouth Institute seminars, presented by Quintinye Vermouth and Martini vermouth brands, received Certificates of Membership to the institute upon completion.
Sponsored Tasting Rooms through-out the week offered attendees a further chance to network and gain inspiration from new spirits and cocktail creations. Tasting Rooms ran the gamut from mezcals to milk punches, and indie spirits and craft distillers to established brands.
Once the sun went down, nightlife consisted of cocktail competitions and showcases like the Bare Knuckle Bar Fight and the Angostura Cocktail Challenge. The Most Imaginative Bartender All-Stars Competition featured previous USBG Most Imaginative Bartender competitors crafting drinks using Bombay Sapphire East.
The 2013 Spirited Awards recognized top cocktail professionals and bar programs, including Charles Joly as Best American Bartender, Jack McGarry (NYC’s The Dead Rabbit, which also took wins in two categories) as Best International Bartender, NYC’s Julie Reiner as Best Bar Mentor and Ford’s Gin as Best New Product and many others winning much-deserved accolades. The Beverage Media 10 Mixologists To Watch, selected from this year’s Tales Apprentice program, were also announced at the event to much fanfare.